October 11, 2016 / 5:56 AM / a year ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-Oil, QNB earnings may lift Gulf

DUBAI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Gulf stock markets may be firm on Tuesday after crude oil prices touched one-year highs overnight, while Qatar may get a boost from positive earnings at its largest listed company.

Brent oil futures surged as much as 3 percent on Monday and are holding just over $53 a barrel on growing expectations of an output cut by OPEC producers.

This bodes well for petrochemical shares across the region.

“Petrochemicals are at an advantage in this round of earnings - on the one hand their valuations are attractive, and on the other their exposure to international markets has kept them relatively safe from the slowing domestic demand,” said Jassim Jubran, equity analyst at Aljazira Capital in Saudi Arabia.

Shares in the first major bank to report earnings in the region, Qatar National Bank, may be bid up after it reported a 10.2 percent increase in third-quarter net profit.

The bank posted a profit of 3.45 billion riyals ($947.5 million) compared with 3.13 billion riyals in the corresponding period of 2015. Three analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast 3.26 billion riyals.

However in Saudi Arabia, Riyad Bank, the first Saudi bank to report, posted an 18.9 percent fall in third-quarter net profit, missing analysts’ forecasts as costs rose.

It made 729 million riyals ($194.4 million) in the three months to Sept. 30, down from 899 million riyals in the same period of 2015. Five analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast 1.05 billion riyals.

Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia

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